Will 2012 be the year for the “Lovable Losers” or the “South Side Sluggers”?

Chicago Cubs

I am sorry to break it to you, but the Cubs will not win a World Series this year or any time in the near future. They are in a rebuilding mode, attempting to turn their awful farm system into a big league squad that can somewhat compete in a very weak Central Division. But let’s not get away from the big picture here. Theo Epstein’s vision of turning the Cubs into a team that can sustain success for multiple decades and revamping the farm system from the bottom up is all in the best interest of the team; I guess a few more years of losing can’t hurt.

Over the past few years, I have really gotten a sense at what the Cubs organization is all about. When the Ricketts family was forced to bring in the all-star crew of Epstein and Jed Hoyer, I knew it was really bad. Something must be terribly wrong if the top headlines surrounding the organization revolve around all-star front office personnel and not all-star talent on the field. Its only a matter of time now before the dominoes start to fall and each level of the Cubs organization begins to takes shape.

What to look forward to- I really like what the Cubs are doing on the player development side. Up until this year, they had one of the worst player development systems in the league, destroying young talent by sending them up to the big leagues to early. But now under the management of Epstein, the system is starting to take shape. Ultimately structure was lacking, and I give the Ricketts family a lot of credit for bringing in the best guy to fix the problem. This year is really an experimentation of players and seeing which can withhold the duration of an entire season. One player that I am really looking forward to seeing come up from AAA-Iowa is Anthony Rizzo. The cubs acquired Rizzo in a trade with San Diego, with the goal of making him their first baseman of the future. He has the potential to be a big force in the big leagues, but hasn’t shown it quite yet. Although his big spring did help his cause, hitting .364 including five hits in 10 at-bats against lefties, he has to prove that he can do this on a consistent basis. If Bryan LaHair should struggle in the big leagues, Rizzo will absolutely get the call later in the year.

White Sox

I really thought the Sox had a playoff run in them last season, but I guess that didn’t pan out. With Mark Buehrle and Manager Ozzie Guillen leaving, I can’t see them even coming close to last season. There are just so many questions surrounding this team and being in a division as tough as the American League Central, I can almost guarantee you that the postseason is not in their future.

What to look forward to- I am really curious to see how the bullpen will do this year. Going into this season, the Sox really didn’t have a true closer to come in the ninth inning and shut down batters. They had a bunch of candidates but not a true guy. Also, I am dieing to see if Adam Dunn will rebound from his worst statistical season of his career. We all know that he has the potential to be great, but if he can’t become mentally ready, you can kiss the Soxs playoff chances goodbye.

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